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Department of Buildings

In observance of the Emancipation Day holiday, DOB will be closed on Tuesday, April 16, 2024; no construction will be allowed on this day without an after-hours permit. You may report illegal construction by submitting an Illegal Construction Inspection Request Form during normal business hours or by calling 311.

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Welcome to the Department of Buildings

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Get a Wall Check

 

Are you in compliance with District wall check requirements? Failure to comply with District wall check requirements may result in a Stop Work Order. DOB's new digital Wall Check Platform provides is your one-stop-shop to ensure you are meeting these requirements.

DOB Wall Check Platform


What is a wall check?

A “Wall Check” (also known as a “Wall Test” or “Wall Examination”) is a style of land survey performed to locate certain types of new construction which may be required by the District of Columbia Building Code and is performed by an independent DC Registered Land Surveyor.

A Wall Check is performed to confirm the location of foundation walls, certain types of retaining walls and/or other exterior new construction features where the Wall Check is required by DOB’s Building and/or Zoning Codes. The Wall Check is reviewed in relation to the property lines to ensure it is consistent with the issued Building Permit’s approved plat and plans.

View List of Registered DC Land Surveyors

 

The Land Surveyor who prepared the wall examination report must sign and submit it, together with the field notes used to prepare the wall check, to DOB's Office of the Surveyor (DOB, 1100 4th Street SW, 3rd Floor). Once the Office of the Surveyor reviews the submitted report, they will retain it and provide a copy of the wall examination report to the Office of Zoning Administration (OZA) for Zoning Compliance Review.

 

When should a wall check be conducted?

A Wall Check is required for a new or enlarged structure once construction of the foundation walls reaches the height of one foot (1 ft.) above the footer to ensure that the foundations are consistent with the issued building permit's approved plat and plans. This requirement also applies to the addition of new floors (1 or more stories added) regardless of whether the footprint expands beyond the existing footprint.

How do I obtain a wall check?

To comply with this District Building Code requirement, an applicant must hire an independent DC Registered Land Surveyor to conduct the Wall Check and produce the Wall Examination Report. It is recommended to contract with a DC Registered Surveyor prior to beginning the process.

View List of Registered DC Land Surveyors

 

The independent Land Surveyor who is contracted to prepare the Wall Examination Report must sign and submit it, together with the field notes and any other supplemental information used to prepare the Wall Check, in DOB's digital Wall Check Platform. Once the Office of the Surveyor reviews the submitted report, a copy of the wall examination report will advance to the Office of Zoning Administration (OZA) for zoning compliance review.

 

What is the role of the Office of the Surveyor?

The Office of the Surveyor is responsible for the review of the Wall Examination Report submission package, which includes the Report and detailed field notes that show how measurements were developed for the Report. The Office of the Surveyor's Wall Check and Survey Coordinator will ensure that the methods used to produce the survey dimensions are in accordance with the customs and practices of the District of Columbia. This provides assurance to the Office of Zoning Administration (OZA) that the document they ultimately review and approve was developed using sound professional practices. Upon completion of its review, the Office of the Surveyor will forward the Wall Examination Report to OZA for approval.

What is the role of the Office of Zoning Administration?

The Office of Zoning Administration's (OZA) staff will review the Wall Examination Report to determine whether the Wall Examination Report is consistent with the issued Building Permit's approved plat and plans. If it is, OZA's Zoning Technicians will approve the Wall Examination Report in DOB's digital Wall Check platform and DOB's permitting database. The applicant will then be authorized to move forward with the construction consistent with the approved and issued Building Permit plat and plans and to schedule inspections. If the Wall Examination Report is not consistent with the issued Building Permit's approved plat and plans, the OZA Zoning Technician will enter a "hold for corrections" (HFC) comment in the Wall Check platform explaining the issue. The applicant will be notified of this.

 

Still not sure if your project requires a wall check? Contact DOB's Office of Zoning Administration at (202) 671-3500 for more information.

 

Resources

Wall Check Process Instructional Video - December 2023

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